Luke Sutton produced a crucial century to twice rescue Lancashire on the opening day of the LV=County Championship match with Somerset at Old Trafford today.
Standing in as an opener following a slight hamstring injury to Tom Smith, the wicketkeeper made 118 and shared two century partnerships as the Red Rose recovered from 27-3 and 175-7 to post a competitive 292 having won the toss.
Kyle Hogg, playing his first Championship game of the season, bowled Arul Suppiah with the last ball of the day to leave Somerset 14-1 in their reply.
“The century means a lot to me. When I scored my first hundred for Lancashire in a Roses game that was as special as it gets, but this wasn’t far behind. It was a really great day,” said Somerset-born Sutton, who put on 104 with Mark Chilton and 108 with Sajid Mahmood.
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“It was a tough start to the day for us and it was just nice to be part of a recovery and we are in a reasonable position now.”
The 33-year-old revelled in the role of opener, hitting 18 fours on his way to his fifth Red Rose hundred since joining from Derbyshire in 2006.
And although admitting physically it would be hard to keep wicket and open on a permanent basis, Sutton says he would be happy to do the job again.
“I have had some experience of it, and my game is suited to it to an extent,” he said.
“I have quite a tight technique so it does suit my game, the tough part is the physical demands of opening the batting and keeping wicket.
I will just do what Peter Moores and Glen Chapple want me to do. When Tom comes back I will just slot in wherever they want me to.”
Australian Damien Wright was the pick of the Somerset bowlers, taking 5-41, with Alfonso Thomas claiming 3-84.
Wright claimed the wickets of Stephen Moore, Paul Horton and Ashwell Prince in his opening nine-over spell.
Sutton and Chilton then steadied the ship before the former Lancashire skipper was trapped lbw nine short of his half-century just after lunch by Thomas.
It was the first of three wickets in five overs for the South African-born seamer.
Steven Croft failed to reach 50 for the first time in the Championship this season as he holed out to Zander de Bruyn at fine leg, Kyle Hogg then edged Thomas behind to Jos Buttler and when Chapple was run out going for a single, Lancashire had lost four wickets for just 44 runs.
But just when it looked like they would miss out on any batting points, Sutton and Mahmood went on the attack and put on 100 in just 115 balls.
Sutton’s innings, his second highest for Lancashire, was eventually ended by a brilliant catch by Buttler down leg side in the 80th over, and he was greeted with a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd as he made his way back to the pavilion.
Mahmood followed three deliveries later as he was bowled by a slower ball from Wright.
And the Victoria seamer clinched his five-wicket haul when Daren Powell was caught by Nick Compton in the deep.
Photos: Simon Pendrigh, Peakpix Digital Images